ALBANY—There are only 31 Democratic state senators in the house today, imperiling immediate action on the state budget.
State Senator Ruth Hassell-Thompson was taken to Albany Medical Center Hospital after falling ill on the Senate floor earlier today, said Senate majority spokesman Austin Shafran .
In a statement to reporters, Shafran said "we're expecting her back at 3 o'clock" but refused to answer questions about her medical condition.
"We'll proceed as soon as she returns," he said when asked if this would result in a late budget. "We have 32 votes, but unfortunately one of our members was taken to the hospital."
Republicans in the chamber have said they will be ready to proceed at 3 p.m., and will offer amendments to the budget bills to restore property tax rebates and eliminate some taxes.
If Hassell-Thompson does not return and if Republicans, as promised, vote no on the budget, then bills cannot pass because an absolute majority of senators are not voting in favor of it. Thirty-one to thirty won't cut it.
As the Times Union pointed out, the budget couldn't technically be passed on time anyway.
ALBANY—Apparently Senator Hassell-Thompson will be released today. State Senator Jose Serrano Jr. just told me the State Senate will reconvene at 5:30.